Today we’d like to introduce you to Pam Grace.
Pam, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started out with a business degree, never, ever thinking that I was creative artistically. I marketed business equipment, got married and then was happily a stay at home mom. Then, for many years, I did work that was honest and flexible but I felt that something was missing. I read Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way” and it got me to start gently exploring being creative as a way of enhancing my life experience.
Something started to come thru, a curiosity about looking at life in new ways, and I started becoming more exploratory. I developed some side businesses.
They were a lot of work, labors of love, but my tastes were changing and I wanted more. This took time. My vision was on its way, just not as fast as I wanted.
And then, the lightning bolt happened. In a twist of fate, I met a woman who was an artist and had lived in San Miguel de Allende. She said: “I can show you how they color wash walls in Mexico if you want to know.” She showed me on my sunroom walls, and I felt like I’d put my finger into an electrical socket. I took some local free school paint classes. The timing was right as Interior Design was starting to move into a “Tuscany” phase and the world was ripe for the glazing look on walls. Everyone wanted this new look. I networked a bit, using my previous business skills and was on my way.
I continued to take classes and at a certain point realized I had become a professional. I needed professional level classes which has meant financial investments over the years. As financial times during the recession changed and interior design desires changed, my work became more challenging. I got a business coach to learn to take my business to a higher level.
Learning “what is my niche market?”, not going after everyone, helped. Some of that I learned thru trial and error, some of it I learned through reaching out to clients, refining my techniques, learning how to be clear about my needs, and how to state pricing parameters clearly. I have learned how to refine my networking and marketing efforts.
It has been an ever evolving journey that has been challenging and continues to be immensely satisfying.
Has it been a smooth road?
Times will change and we can learn a lot by staying around people in similar fields that are doing well, by asking what clients needs and tastes are right off the bat instead of showing them all of the awesome things “I” can do. Importantly, I learn to set pricing parameters and get clear soon into the process. Does this client want a Honda when I am showing them a Lexus? Am I willing to learn new ways of reaching out to my market?
Early on, I used to think that people needed to see how hard I was working. I used to think that if they liked me, I would get the sale. Now I know that it really doesn’t matter to the client how hard I am working (overworking is exhausting) or if they like me, though mutual respect is important. I keep myself current and well-skilled in my field, I deeply listen to what clients want or need, I’m intuitive and I am clear with what I am charging and communicating. I keep in good relationship with my clients and with industry partners in my field – quick sales at the expense of personal relationships always have karmic pushback.
I make sure, even now when my business is extremely successful, to continue to market and network. I use the best advice my coach ever gave me to ”keep a robust pipeline” and to trust that as I go to industry shows or meet new people, even if it doesn’t seem to have an immediate pay off, I build relationships, and that as I “polish here, it shines there”.
Most importantly, I never take this work or my success for granted. I am not entitled to anything, no matter how diligently I have worked. Times change, design changes, the economy changes, what people want changes. That makes my clients and my relationships even more valuable. It is especially important for my creativity and energy to stay inspired and jazzed by the work I offer.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Coloured Paint story. Tell us more about it.
Through specialty wall treatments, I change the energy of personal spaces and bring tremendous joy to my clients.
I used to be what was called a faux painter, although what I do has evolved so much further that I never use that description. I do a lot of work with troweled plaster treatments-smooth and polished like Venetian plasters and shimmery metallic plasters or gritty and layered. The look is often quite contemporary, and I create a “mood” in a room, whether rustic, industrial, Uber-sophisticated. I put patterns onto walls with stencils or embed patterns into plasters. I’m jazzed with the development of exceptional materials, foils, glass beads, sheets of mica. I can interpret what a client wants in so many different ways, creating a space that is unique and personal.
What sets me apart? I’m proud of the fact that my work through my company, Coloured Paint, continues to evolve as design evolves. I stay cutting-edge with my product knowledge and education. I listen and use my intuition well. I ask questions to truly understand what is emotionally and visually desired as well as to understand the parameters involved with timing and pricing. I’ve got years of great testimonials by my clients and interior designers!
For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
I am fortunate in that many women work in my field. Interior design and specialty wall treatment have involved female expertise and has been honored for that. Skilled trades continue to open up, the remodeling and both the residential and commercial construction world is ripe for women! Offering to assist in an internship or assistant capacity can develop relationships with mentors who teach by example and can also become referral partners, this is true for women and men.
Many of the barriers are within and can keep women from realizing their full potential. Opportunities are the flip side of the issue of challenges. Sometimes resolving the challenges is key. Business coaching, support groups, even therapy if needed.
Winston Churchill had a quote that I have considered often. “Successful people go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. There’s always more to learn.
- Due to the custom nature of my work, my project minimum is $2500.
- Website: www.colouredpaint.com
- Phone: 7203173799
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @pamgracecolour
- Facebook: Coloured Paint with Pam Grace
Pam Grace, Russell McDougall